I’m sorry I have not provided much input in the last two weeks I’ve been working on a bunch of related issues, but not making much direct hardware progress.
I’ve seen much on-line discussion of the Google Lunar X prize. Its a cool prize and significant purse, but I think it pales in comparision to the briliance of the origional X-prize.
I think a good prize should have several charactoristics:
- It should seem like its possible to win a bunch of $. A prize that costs 15M to win 20M is not a prize. There were a lot of people that thought they could win the origional X prize for less than 2M, they were wrong, but it appeared at first blush like it was possible.
- When the winner is successful it should create a market. The origional Xprize kick started a rush to do suborbital tourisum.
- The rules should be very simple, the core concept should be a paragraph or less.
I think the world really needs a low cost access to orbit prize. The primary barrier to becoming a spacefaring civilization is the cost to orbit. The traditional players have no incentive to really change this.
Pauls Ideal Orbital prize:
- 10M for the first group to orbit a reusable vehicle.
- Must orbit at least 4 times above 100 km.
- Must return intact.
- Must repeat within one month.
- All stages are recovered and reused.
- No more than 10% of the inert stage mass may be replaced.
- The replacement/refurbishment does not cost more than 100K per flight.
- Change the amount to 25M and require it carry a single person. For the first of the two flights the person could be simulated. (IE record accelerations temps, pressures etc.. prove person could survive.)
- Remove the reuseablity requirement and substitute a low cost requirement. IE a fullt accounted cost to build and launch the 2nd flight for less than $200K.
Enough pontificating for one day. Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time will know we lost our 15yr old dog in October. Last Friday we acquired a 3 month old puppy from the Hellen Woodward anmial shelter. I’ve spent the weekend playing with the puppy, I only built one rocket part all weekend.